SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Those with the Springfield-Branson National Airport are hoping new destinations will help them power through the pandemic economy.
Two new routes to Austin, Texas, and Punta Gorda, Florida will start flights on Friday.
Airport Spokesperson Kent Boyd said the flights to these destinations are through Allegiant Airlines and will be year-round, flying twice a week.
Boyd said the airport now offers a total of 15 non-stop destinations, which is a record number.
“These two destinations are important because they are to leisure destinations and leisure is the one segment of flying these days that has gone up,” Boyd said. “Flying for leisure has gone up, so the more leisure destinations we can get, the better off we are.”
While Boyd said flying for leisure is up, flying for business purposes is down.
“Zoom and Facetime and all that, a significant number of business meetings for the past 18 months have been on those electronic platforms,” Boyd said. “The big question for the airline industry is are those businesspeople going to start flying again?”
He said when comparing passenger numbers from this year to 2019, they are down about 20 percent.
“There seems to be a consensus right now in the industry that we’re looking at 2023-2024 before things are back to normal,” Boyd said. “We’ll see.”